Carnegie Community Action Project introduces vision for Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
By Stephen Thomson, Georgia Straight
A Downtown Eastside group is calling for a stop to gentrification and support for a government-sanctioned drug market in the Vancouver neighbourhood.
The proposed actions are part of a “vision” for the area introduced by the Carnegie Community Action Project today (July 20).
In a 14-page report, the project organizers call for pressure on the federal government to reform the rules around the drug trade in the Downtown Eastside.
“Replacing the illegal drug market with a regulated legal market based on health and human rights principles would improve safety and health in the DTES and in other places,” the report reads.
“If the city supports DTES residents to replace the illegal drug market with a regulated legal one, that could be a first for the country and the world.”
The group also calls on Vancouver mayor and council to buy 50 lots in the neighbourhood for social housing over the next decade. They want city zoning and planning processes to limit gentrification while affordable housing is created.
“If this vision is not implemented, more and more market development will push into the DTES, displacing residents and destroying the community assets that provide so much essential support to remaining low-income residents,” the report reads.
According to the Carnegie Community Action Project, the Downtown Eastside is home to 16,000 people. Around 70 per cent of the neighbourhood's residents have low incomes, the group says.
The project organizers also call for more safe-inhalation and safe-injection sites in the Downtown Eastside and elsewhere in Vancouver.